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The Dawn

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The Filipino rock band the Dawn were cloaked in mystery when a raw demo of their song "Enveloped Ideas" was first played on Manila, Phillipines' new wave radio station XB-102 in 1986. Opening with funereal synths and ghostly, operatic vocals à la Klaus Nomi, "Enveloped Ideas" had the fingerprints of a British import. The Dawn eventually topped U.K. groups such as the Colourfield, the Housemartins, and Friends Again on the station's request lines via listeners with no knowledge that the band was actually homegrown. The Dawn originated as a nameless trio in the mid-'80s with guitarist Teddy Diaz, Junboy Leonor (drums), and Clay Luna (bass). At first, Diaz was the group's singer. The band then unsuccessfully tried looking for a female vocalist. They met Jett Pangan while he was pretending to help a girl audition for the group. After hearing Pangan sing, the band hired him to be their vocalist. When Luna moved to the U.S., he was replaced by Carlos "Caloy" Balcells. In 1986, the group called themselves the Dawn, named after a portrait of the Holy Spirit that symbolized the dawn of a new life. With "Enveloped Ideas," the Dawn became underground superstars, a vibrant new wave act in a country then dominated by easy listening artists. The Dawn signed with OctoArts and subsequently turned into mainstream idols as well. On August 21, 1988, Diaz, by that time a rock & roll hero to many Pinoy musicians, was stabbed to death. The Dawn continued with Atsushi Matsuura as their new guitarist until Francis Reyes joined the band; Dodo Fernandez (keyboards) was also added to the lineup. As the public's taste began to veer toward hard rock, the Dawn toughened their sound; nevertheless, audiences still clamored for new wave classics like "Enveloped Ideas" and "Dreams." In 1995, the Dawn broke up. Pangan formed the Jett Pangan Group while Reyes started working as a DJ on alternative rock station NU-107. In 2000, the Dawn reunited and recorded the album Prodigal Sun; they toured the U.S. a year later. ~ Michael Sutton

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Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s